filter icon-agriculture-active icon-agriculture-white icon-agriculture icon-environment-active icon-environment-white icon-environment icon-grants-active icon-grants-white icon-grants icon-jobs-active icon-jobs-white icon-jobs icon-loans-active icon-loans-white icon-loans icon-other-active icon-other-white icon-other icon-shares-active icon-shares-white icon-shares logo-footer

Africa - Africa

Proudly Zambian

Java Foods is a Zambian food manufacturing company founded in 2012 with the objective of providing convenient, affordable and nutritious foods made from local products – keeping it proudly Zambian.

Share this

While living and working in Nigeria, Monica Musonda would often travel with her employer – occasionally to her native Zambia. The employer – Aliko Dangote – would ask why most companies and businesses in Zambia seemed to be run by foreigners. Why were Zambians not seizing opportunities to take charge of their own economy?
In 2012 Monica Musonda quit her job as a lawyer in Nigeria and returned to Zambia with a simple goal – to get more Zambian businesses in the hands of Zambians. She was going to lead by example.

 So I thought: Why don’t we create a noodle brand? 

Monica wasn’t sure where to start, but she soon noticed that a young, slightly more economically empowered group of Zambians, might be what she was looking for.

It’s a very young country and their consumption patterns are very different from what their parents are. There’s a little more income so people are willing to try something new, something catchy.. So I thought: Why don’t we create a noodle brand? “

The same year she founded JAVA Foods and soon a new range of instant noodles landed on the shelves in Zambian supermarkets. Not only could the preparation of the noodles be called instant – so was the success.

The noodle brand is called eeZee Noodles and in the first year, 2013, JAVA Foods sold almost half a million packets. The noodles are fortified and come in different flavours. And even if there is competition the eeZee noodles have one great advantage that resonates well with the customers – JAVA Foods is Zambian.

“We don’t have a lot of brands where people can say “Look, this is a Zambian brand!” So I thought we’ve got to create a brand that’s excellent in terms of quality, in terms of what the people want and build that,” she says.

In 2016 JAVA Foods opened a production facility in the heart of the Zambian capital Lusaka and started production of a fortified breakfast cereal called SupaCereal. In 2017 a corn snack (puffs) was added by the name of Num Nums. With the addition of new products JAVA Foods is realising the ambition to create more local business, to source raw materials locally and to benefit people locally.

One special feature of SupaCereal, which is specifically targeting low income markets, is that it is fortified to meet basic nutritional requirements – a feature of great importance in a country where malnutrition has an adverse effect on a large part of the population.

All products have a relatively young target group –around 75% of Zambia’s population is 30 or under – and are competitively priced making them ideal candidates to also win over segments of the population with low incomes.

JAVA Foods has entered into an agreement with the NGO CARE – and by extension a local social enterprise called Live Well. Live Well’s mission is to improve health and wealth in under-served communities and it recruits, trains, and supports hundreds of community health entrepreneurs with a particular focus on women. The entrepreneurs penetrate high density areas by foot and sell food and health items. 

 We’ve accomplished what we set out to do; create a brand that the Zambian youth can relate to. 

SupaCereal is one of the products being sold through these vendors in an effort to make it a household name – and to make nutritious and healthy food available to those who need it the most. By scaling up in the informal markets JAVA Foods can potentially tap into a market where close to 9 out of 10 Zambians do their shopping.

Whereas SupaCereal is still carving a niche for itself in the market, eeZee Noodles is one of the major players on the local market, says Monica.

“It is a proudly Zambian brand. We’ve accomplished what we set out to do; create a brand that the Zambian youth can relate to. I can tick that for sure.”

BESTSELLER FOUNDATION is proud to help grow a Zambian company – hopefully inspiring other Zambians to follow suit.